Man of the day

Australia's Ryan Harris tailored his bowling to the pitch in expert fashion on day two at the SCG

Last Updated: 04/01/14 10:58pm

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Ryan Harris: Australia seamer celebrates the wicket of Kevin Pietersen

Ryan Harris: Australia seamer celebrates the wicket of Kevin Pietersen

Sky Bet

Mitchell Johnson has taken most of the plaudits but the contribution of his new-ball partner Ryan Harris to Australia's Ashes domination should not be overlooked.

Harris set the tone for his whitewash-chasing side on day two at the Sydney Cricket Ground with a superb spell of 5-2-6-2 at the start of the morning.

He removed England captain Alastair Cook lbw offering no shot to the second ball of the day and should have had another wicket with his next delivery, only for the normally sure-handed Shane Watson to spill a regulation catch at first slip from Ian Bell's outside edge.

Watson soon redeemed himself by holding on to another chance from the same bowler soon afterwards, this time to get rid of Kevin Pietersen.

Harris, 34 and playing in the 21st Test of an injury-restricted career, provided the template on how to bowl on a wicket offering variable bounce.

England's seamers had dropped too short on day one but Harris made no such mistake, instead concentrating his efforts on a full, line probing away on and around off-stump.

His double strike helped reduce England from 8-1 to 23-5 during the first hour of the day and he added the wicket of Scott Borthwick later on as the tourists were all out for 155, a first-innings deficit of 171 that moves them to the brink of suffering a 5-0 series defeat.

Harris - who has had spells in county cricket with Surrey, Sussex and Yorkshire during a peripatetic career - has now taken 41 wickets while nursing his body through nine consecutive Tests against England this year, starting at Lord's in July.

Many doubted the Sydney-born seamer was capable of such a fitness record and how much longer he can continue to push his battered body - in particular the knee problem that has required careful management during this series - is a key question if Australia are to build on this Ashes victory over the next couple of years.

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